Wednesday, July 27, 2005

"Money (That's What I Want)"

The job hunt continues. Wendy's sent me another dozen different things to apply to just in the past day or two. I've been applying to a few a day, and hopefully someone will hire me. It'd be nice to be employed before the end of August.

Unpacking goes well, too. Tomorrow we're going to go get some shelving stuff. I plan to put the shelf above the TV and place the VCR/DVD player and stereo receiver on the shelf, since there's really nowhere else to put them. This ought to work out just right, and it's fairly inexpensive. Next step is to figure out somewhere to put all my books (since I can only fit a few on the shelves at my disposal here). I've got a couple of options, but nothing concrete yet. We'll just see what happens.

Meeting with a friend of mine for lunch tomorrow. Actually, I've never met the guy before, but I've chatted back and forth with him through LiveJournal, and we're possibly going to collaborate on a project. We'll just have to see how that goes.


Song of the Moment: Son Volt, "Windfall"

Monday, July 25, 2005

"I Went Down Virginia"

Well, I made it to Virginia safely. Two days sitting in the car, bored to tears, but I made it in one piece.

Unpacking has gone fairly well so far. Admittedly, I've really only got the computer set up; my clothes are all piled up in the closet, as are all my books, CDs, and DVDs. I need to hook up all the TV stuff, but I need a shelf thing for the VCR/DVD player and stereo to sit on for all that. But I'm getting it done, piece by piece. I'm sure I'll have a livable room in a week or so.

Anyway, there's much left to do, but I'm getting settled. More to come, I'm sure.


Song of the Moment: The Beatles, "Drive My Car"

Thursday, July 21, 2005

"As I'm Leaving"

Well, dad's coming over in the morning to help me load the last of my stuff. I'll have everything out of the apartment by the end of the day tomorrow. That leaves Friday to finish any unfinished business--any cleaning that still needs to be done, checking out with the apartment manager, and going to collect my paycheck.

As I've said, I'm rather sad to be leaving OU in a lot of ways, but I'm also looking forward to the next step in my life. It's time to move on, as it were.

Goodbye, Norman. You've been a decent enough town to live in for the past three years, football seasons and stupid, inconsiderate drivers aside. This has been a good place to recover my sense of self after that last tough year at Ozarks, a good place to decide where I want to go in life and what I want to do. I think I have a much better idea of where I'm headed now, figuratively speaking, than I did three years ago. I arrived here a very uncertain, slightly defeated person. I was angry with myself for failing to get into the graduate programs I wanted to attend, I was angry that I'd had to make (what I saw as) a retreat to Oklahoma. Then I was upset that I didn't finish my Master's degree in a year and a half as I'd originally believed I could (I've since realized I must've had some pretty powerful delusions going). Now I kinda know what I want to do with my life, have a few different possible plans, and things are generally looking up.

Farewell, Oklahoma. My family is still here, will remain here, and so I'll also have something of a home here. Part of me is left in this place, and I think I'm the better for having lived here.


Song of the Moment: John Mellencamp, "Rain on the Scarecrow"

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

"It's Just A Place Where We Used To Live"

Jess and Dom just left with my couch. Well, their couch, now, seeing as how I sold it to 'em. Kinda sad to see that couch go. It was a good couch. I spent many a night lounged there, watching movies and anime. I spent many an hour napping there, head back, mouth open, legs draped over the arm of the couch. It was a comfy couch, and I shall miss having it. But at least I know it'll get some good use.

The living room looks pretty empty now. There are patches on the floor of dust and detritus where the couch sat for three years. There's an echo in the room, and it seems vaguely unwelcoming now. Most of the rooms are getting that way, really, what with the removal of furniture and the stuff that used to occupy the floorspace. The bedroom is the only place that still looks remotely like it is occupied by a human being, and that's because it still has all its furniture and clothes are piled up hither and yon across the room. That'll change tomorrow, I guess.

I really do find myself feeling sentimental about this place I never wanted to move into in the first place. Funny how the mind plays tricks on you.


Song of the Moment: Mark Knopfler, "On Every Street"

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

"Layla, You Got Me On My Knees"

Well, got another load of crap taken home. It amounted to about half of the clothes I own.

Yeah, that's right, half. I didn't have time to pack the other half. I somehow have managed to fill all three main closests in this apartment. I'm a freakin' clothes horse and I never even knew it. I mean, you wouldn't know it to see how I dress. I wear the same dozen or so shirts all the time. In the winter, I've got on my hoodie or one of my flannel shirts over those dozen shirts. I wear the same clothes all the time, meanwhile accumulating dozens of shirts and whatnot that I never wear.

So part of what I did this morning was to pare down some of my clothes. Sift through and discard those shirts which didn't fit or I didn't ever wear or think I'd wear. In the process, I found out I have plenty of collared short-sleeved shirts that'll be great to wear to work (I, I hope they don't want me to wear a tie every day. That'd suck). But I'll hopefully get some more clothes sorted tomorrow when I go back home with another load (it's easier to sort after they've been transported, 'cause that way I don't have to try to remember what was what when I get there).

Today ended up being pretty productive. I got my teeth cleaned, my eyes checked (they've gotten marginally worse), my hair cut, a binder with all the Yeti songs in it (and chords to them! Now I know what chords to play, even if that generally amounts to "some variation of G, C, and D, with the occasional F or Am or Em thrown in for fun"), and lunch with my grandmother. Here in a little while, Jess and Dom will arrive, and we'll go grab some Mexican food at Tarahumara's for a last hurrah. Then they'll take my couch. A splendid time is guaranteed for all.

The rest of the week is going to be busy. I still intend to get enough comics done that I don't have to miss an update while I move. I need three, really--tomorrow's, Friday's, and Monday's. That'll really cover me and give me time to get settled before I have to draw another comic in Virginia. But I need to get those done (and the rest of my applications sent out) while I still have access to the computer, and I really kinda need to get it and the desk taken home tomorrow or Thursday at the latest. We'll just have to see how many loads I can get done tomorrow.


Song of the Moment: Pink Floyd, "Another Brick in the Wall, Part II"

Monday, July 18, 2005

"This Is Only A Test"

Got my score for the Praxis II today (finally). The cutoff score for Virginia for Social Studies Content Knowledge is a 161 according to the official website. I got a 182. Average range is 157-178. I got higher than that without even studying. Man, either the exams to become eligible to teach in this country are sad, or I'm a lot smarter than I give myself credit for.

Anyway, off for more packing and then off for home. Lunch with Audrey was fun. Picked up new Foo Fighters album, the first disc of which rocks hardcore (if'n you're into that sort of thing) and will be used as Official Wake Up Music on The Move. More stuff tomorrow, I'm sure.


Song of the Moment: Foo Fighters, "In Your Honor"

"Something's Always Wrong"

Finally feel close to 100% today. Whatever illness plagued me all last week has finally been beaten into remission, though I had my doubts about that last night, what with the pounding headache centered behind my eyes that made it difficult to even sit still. But my throat feels good, I'm not stopped up, I'm not coughing, and my head doesn't feel like it's ready to split open and give birth to any gods or goddesses, so I'm better.

Which is good, 'cause this is a busy week. Today, I've got a late lunch with Audrey, I need to pack all my clothes (like, all of them) to take home, go to the bank and the post office, and go home...all before 6.00 pm. Tomorrow is taken up mostly by things like a trip to the dentist, the eye doctor, and getting a haircut, followed by hanging out with Jess and Dom (who are also taking the loveseat off my hands for me). Wednesday is more packing, Clif coming over to take a load to Shawnee, visiting with my aunt and uncle for dinner, and at some point I really need to get comics made and get all my applications out the door. Thursday and Friday are pack and move, pack and move. Lots of that, since I need to have everything out of here and the place cleaned up by Friday midday (that would be the preference, anyway, so I've got plenty of time to get organized and get everything I'm taking loaded).

I'm confident I can get everything done this week that needs to be done, it's just gonna be rough...especially when you consider the fact that I need to get a good night's sleep every night this week so I'm well-rested for driving all weekend.

So yeah, if I'm kinda quiet here this week, you know why.


Song of the Moment: Marshall Tucker Band, "Can't You See"

Sunday, July 17, 2005

"I Will Not Take These Things For Granted"

I am, at heart, a sentimental bastard. I can't help it, really. I don't necessarily get gushy and weepy, but I've never liked seeing things end (well, except Friends. Damn, I was glad to see that piece of trash go).

So here I am, sitting in the Writing Center for my last shift as a Writing Consultant for the University of Oklahoma Athletic Department.

I've filled out my termination paperwork (Reason for Termination: lack of pie), I've turned in my key, I've said my farewells to most of the other consultants and my boss. In two hours, I'm officially unemployed, even though I still have two paychecks coming.

So part of me is very sad to be leaving this place, though I'm loathe to admit it. I never wanted to come to OU in the first place. I never wanted to tutor athletes for a living (something inside me still balks at the notion of giving them preferential treatment, especially after seeing the way so many of them treat the extra assistance we provide). I really never wanted to get attached to this city, these people, this job. It all just sorta happened. And now I'm leaving it, and it feels just a little sad.

I've spent the past few days saying 'goodbye' to people, both here and across the state, really. Friday was the last gaming group meeting--we saved the world, blew some stuff up, and generally had a wonderful time. Saturday, I visited my friend Ali. We had lunch, putzed around the mall, and generally just hung out. On my way back to Norman, I stopped at Best Buy on I-240 to look for a DVD my uncle wanted for his birthday. I managed to run into my father and Clif at said Best Buy looking for the same DVD. We headed up to Bricktown, had a bite to eat, and they went to a baseball game while I returned home to Norman to attend a going away party with the Writing Center folks. After that ended, I went home and collapsed.

Today I went to Shawnee for a birthday dinner for my uncle, father, and mother (mom's was a couple of weeks ago, but they were on vacation, my uncle's is like tomorrow, and dad's is in a week or two, so it all worked out, really). Unfortunately, no one had bothered to mention to me that the time of the dinner was changed, so everyone else had already finished eating by the time I got there. I ate some food anyway, chatted with the family for awhile, then came back to Norman to work.

The next week is going to go in much the same fashion. I'll see some friends and family, say goodbye, do a lot of packing and moving, and slowly detach myself from this place. Come Saturday, I'll be gone. This chapter of my life is reaching the last paragraph, and I can see the next chapter ready to start.


Song of the Moment: Toad the Wet Sprocket, "I Will Not Take These Things for Granted"

Friday, July 15, 2005

"Every One Of You Is Fired"

Progress on the packing and moving stuff goes pretty well. I've nearly cleared out two closests, I've got another stack of boxes waiting for dad to take home in about an hour, and I'm probably going to start getting actual pieces of furniture out of here. At least one desk will disappear before the day's end, I know that much. Granted, that means the ol' scanner has to sit on the floor for the next week or so, but that's okay.

I've actually started thinking about how I'm going to get everything to Virginia. I know the three pieces of furniture I'm taking (my dresser, my double-wide bookcase, and a nightstand) will fit in the back of Clif's truck with ease. I figure I can pack around the edges of that with things like bags of clothes, bags of linen and towels, etc. I can also stack a few boxes in the bookcase, since the shelves will be out of it and it'll be up against other furniture. Computer, television/VCR/DVD/stereo stuff goes in my car, and probably things like the guitar and whatnot. That's most of the major stuff right there. I can put trashbags over my hanging clothes and set those on top of other stuff in both cars. That's pretty much everything I'm taking right there. Not too shabby, if I do say so myself.

Of course, the problem I'm going to encounter this afternoon is that my dad and Clif are going to show up at about the same time as Ev and the Friday Group. That'll be an interesting mixture.


Song of the Moment: Paul McCartney, "Every Night (Live)"

Because Mel And Bob Apparently Think I Need To Do This...

What were you doing 10 years ago?
High school. Probably participating in a play or something. Angsting, 'cause it was high school, after all.

5 years ago?
Attending Ozarks, majoring in History, angsting over lack of girlfriend (hey, it's a fairly safe bet)

1 year ago?
Attending OU, procrastinating on my Master's Thesis, working in the Writing Center, getting ready to attend weddings in Arkansas and wondering how I was gonna afford it (the answer: Bank of Mom)

Went to work, visited grandparents

5 snacks you enjoy?
chips and queso
chex mix

5 songs you know all the words to?
Bob Dylan - All Along the Watchtower
Toad the Wet Sprocket - Something's Always Wrong
The Beatles - I've Just Seen a Face
Tom Petty - Maryjane's Last Dance
The Band - The Weight

5 things you would do with $100 million?
Buy a new car
Make disparaging remarks about Limp Bizkit and Ashlee Simpson on national TV (why not?)
Attend lots of concerts
Buy a house where me and all my friends could live

5 things I like doing?
music (both listening and playing)
navel gazing
watching anime

5 things I will never wear?
a miniskirt
high heels
"vintage" or "pre-distressed" jeans
anything stylish or fashionable

5 biggest joys at the moment?
new music
playing the guitar
seeing friends and family
sense of accomplishment
lack of pants

5 favorite toys?

5 people you tag?
I'm not gonna subject five other people to this, there's no reason for it.


Song of the Moment: Bob Dylan, "Changing of the Guard"

"Got A Bomb In My Temple"

My head really aches today. Did yesterday, too. It's from the sinus pressure from the cold I've had all week. In fact, my freakin' eyebrows ache. Not the hairs, mind, but the brow ridge. It's not very pleasant, lemme tell ya. The sinus pressure has also made it tough to wear glasses and sunglasses, which means I've been wearing my contacts until the absolute last minute (even though those're causing me eye strain 'cause I'm keeping them in too long, so my eyes are tired, blurry, and there's not a damn thing I can do about it). At least my throat doesn't hurt as much, I'm not dealing with as much drainage as I was yesterday and the day before, and I actually slept for the full night last night. That was a novel experience, lemme tell ya.


Song of the Moment: Ben Folds, "Fired"

Thursday, July 14, 2005

"Paperback Writer"

Tonight was the last meeting of the Writing Club. My story received a fairly positive reception, which pleased me. A few more rounds of revision, and I'm going to try to submit it for publication somewhere.

I'm always kind of sad to see things end. The phase of my life here in Norman, as loathe as I was to have to enter it initially, has been good for me in many ways. I've met people I love dearly, made connections I'll never forget. My life may not have been going the way I thought it, but it's at least going in an interesting direction. In hindsight, the three years I spent here weren't so bad as I thought they'd be when I first arrived.

So while I'm sad to see this part of my life end--and no mistake, this is the end of a part of my life--I leave knowing I've grown as an individual and with a better sense of who I am and what I want to do. Those're always positive things.

Grudgingly, I'm saying "farewell" to Norman in a week: on the one hand, I never wanted to come here. On the other, part of me now doesn't want to leave.


Song of the Moment: Toad the Wet Sprocket, "P.S."

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

"I've Never Been To Spain"

Said goodbye to the Hot Spanish Golfer Chick today. She seems genuinely sad to see me go, but I did get her email address and promised to keep her up-to-date on my whereabouts and activities.

It's starting to occur to me just how much I'm going to miss this job. I've never had a job that was this flexible in terms of schedule, what it allowed me to do (both in terms of working on my own papers and piddling around with Gameboy and reading and comics and whatnot), and the people I got to work with.

Really, I'll miss the people most of all, I think. Folks like Ev and Amy and Gretchen and Lindsay and Vicki, people I've come to love in a lot of ways over the past three years. They've become part of my extended family, with all the benefits and quirkiness that entails. Gretchen was as understanding and helpful a boss as one could ask for, and my coworkers were always kind, congenial, and genuinely willing to help one another and the students out as much as possible. It's been a great work environment, even if the student-athletes sometimes made us want to pull all our hair out or the NCAA made us want to pull someone else's hair out.

I only have two more days of work. I've got a morning shift Friday, and then the Sunday shift. That's it. Three years of my life have been spent in this office, really, and I think they've been three years well-spent. I know it goes against the trend in workplace humor, but I have liked it here. I'll genuinely miss this job.

And the Writing Center will never be the same. I'm not the only one leaving--Ev is taking off for parts unknown a couple of weeks after I leave, Amy is going to start teaching up in Moore, Brooke is headed for Massachusetts for grad school. Of the people who were working here when I came in, only Gretchen and Vicki (who had worked there before I arrived, left for awhile, and then returned about a year into my stint with the Center) will remain. The turnover rate isn't that bad when you consider this is a student job, really, but it's tough when five of us (six if you count John, who left a couple of weeks ago) are leaving all within a month of each other.

So yes, I will miss the Writing Center. Norman, for all the hatred and bile I had for it when I arrived, has become something of a home. Part of me will be sad to leave. The apartment has been my lair for three years. That is, as my father pointed out the other day, equal to the time I spent in the dorm room in MacLean with Chris and JP at Ozarks. When your life is as transient and changeable as a student's life is, that's a long time in one place. Most everyone else I know has moved at least once a year in the past four or five years.

But it's all good. After all, I got the Hot Spanish Golfer Chick's email address and two hugs. That's as nice a parting gift as one could ask for.


Song of the Moment: Son Volt, "Jet Pilot"

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

"The Words Of Woodie Guthrie Ringing In My Head"

I feel better today than I did yesterday. I sound worse, actually, but feel better. I spent a good portion of last night trying to clear my throat, and as a result it's a bit raw. Throat still isn't clear, either, but it's starting to hurt too much to clear very often. I've also got a rattling cough that really hurts, and it kicks in after I clear my throat usually, so that's just loads of fun.

I've actually improved through the day, at least in terms of how I sound. I still can't talk for very long, and my voice cracks like I was a pubscent boy asking out a girl for the first time, but I can usually manage to croak out a sentence or two.

Tomorrow after work, I'm heading up to Ponca City to visit my grandparents. Haven't seen them in awhile, so I figured I'd better visit before I head off halfway across the country.

God, I'm still nowhere near packed. Joy.


Song of the Moment: Son Volt, "Afterglow 61"

"Bob Dylan - Planet Waves"

Outside of the acknowledged vital Dylan albums, there's a lot of contention amongst fans as to what else you really need. I mean, obviously you need his trio of electric albums (Bringing it All Back Home, Highway 61 Revisited, and Blonde on Blonde), you probably would do well with at least three of his early acoustic folk records (everything but his self-titled, which isn't essential but still quite good), Blood on the Tracks from 1974, The Basement Tapes with The Band, The Bootleg Series (all six volumes, really), and maybe Time Out of Mind and Love and Theft to represent his latter-day work.

His other work...well, there are those who deride certain albums and those who laud the same records. Some folks think Oh Mercy is an excellent piece of work. Others say Infidels was the best Dylan ever did after '74. Some think that his two country albums--the folky country-inflected John Wesley Harding and the straight-ahead country of Nashville Skyline--were the last truly great albums he cut.

All of which is designed to say this: Planet Waves is not the sort of Dylan album everyone will love or even like. It's an album of modest pleasures, and not at all the incendiary triumphant return that one would expect from the reteaming of Dylan and The Band. Folks who don't like Dylan can point to this album as evidence that he never really tried all that hard, that he just scribbled cryptic lines that really meant nothing and 'sang' them in a haphazard, nonchalant way. Dylan enthusiasts will point out that this is a low-key, simple album, a continuation of the domestic bliss that preoccupied Dylan on New Morning.

And really, this record sounds like New Morning, Mark II. Instrumentation is fairly subdued, and while Robbie Robertson has some nice guitar fills throughout, there's nothing nearly as explosive as his work on Blonde on Blonde. This is a mostly acoustic album, with plenty of piano and organ thrown in. The songs feel like they were recorded live in the studio, which was a common practice for Dylan.

Lyrically, this is not one of Dylan's better efforts. The lyrics are all surface, and some songs ("Tough Mama" being the primary culprit) are downright silly or poor. But Dylan makes up for this towards the end of the first side with "Forever Young," which is reprised on the second side in a more up-tempo version (which I actually prefer, but then again, Clif and my's obsession with playing fast is well-known). It's followed by songs like "Dirge" and "Wedding Song," which are both beautiful and simple.

Ultimately, Planet Waves is a modest, mediocre Dylan album. Its New Morning meets Basement Tapes sound and style are nice, but don't really leave much of an impression. Lyrically, it's nowhere near his '70s twin peaks of Blood on the Tracks and Desire, but you can't hit a homerun every time out, right?


Song of the Moment: Bob Dylan, "Dirge"

Monday, July 11, 2005

"Pack Up Your Money And Pull Up Your Tent"

Dad came over this afternoon and helped me load up a truckload of stuff from the apartment. All of my books are gone, as are most of my DVDs (the anime collection remains here for the time being, though, as does the CD collection). The living room looks so...empty now.

I also had to kind of laugh at my dad. Apparently he hasn't shaved since he started vacation two weeks ago. Unfortunately for him, he's a Cottrell, which means he suffers from sparse facial hair--there are patches that have no hair, and sadly for him, the beard is coming in more salt than pepper, if you catch my meaning.

Of course, when I asked him why he was growing a beard, he gave the best possible reason I can imagine: "it annoys the hell out of your mother." I mean, that's half the reason I grew my own chin fuzz.

Ended up calling in sick to work this evening (which Lindsay didn't mind--she said it was quiet all afternoon and looked to be the same all evening. I was glad, because while I'd have gone into work if she'd asked me to, I'd have been pretty useless). Used my time sleeping instead. Man, it was nice to sleep for more than 30 minutes at a stretch. Granted, I woke up with the overwhelming need to clear the phlegm from my already raw throat, so I'm sure I sould like death that has not only been warmed over, but then stuck back in the fridge, taken out, left to sit on the counter for a couple of days, shoved in the freezer, taken back out, thawed, microwaved, and then tossed out in the garbage. It's pleasant, let me tell you. But at least my nose is no longer running. My ears feel like they need to pop, my throat feels like crap, and my nose is still stopped up, but at least I'm not having to blow the damn thing every five minutes.


Song of the Moment: Wilco, "Company in my Back"

"Breathe In The Air"

So I woke up every half hour last night because I couldn't breathe and my nose wouldn't stop running. I thus blew my nose every half hour from about 2.00 am to about 7.30 am, when I finally said "to hell with it" and dragged myself out of bed to take a shower and go to work.

It's funny, though--I mean, I blew my nose alot last night. And I've been blowing it periodically since then all day. Yet there still seems to be plenty of mucous in my nose. Where the hell is it all coming from? How does it all fit up there? It's not like I have a gargantuan nose or anything. How much snot can the human body actually produce, and why does my body see the need to test that limit?

Now that I've thoroughly grossed everyone out...


Song of the Moment: Bob Dylan, "On a Night Like This"

Sunday, July 10, 2005

"A Momentary Lapse Of Reason"

So, while talking to my grandfather tonight, I realized just how impractical I can be.

See, all along, I've been thinking I'll have to get a U-Haul trailer to get all my stuff down to Virginia. I figured, even with Clif's truck and my SUV, we couldn't fit things like my dresser or bookcase in without leaving out things like clothes or CDs or my guitar (none of which I particularly want to have to leave behind).

Anyway, while talking with my grandfather (and making plans to visit on Wednesday), I happened to mention that Wendy is coming to Oklahoma next month for a quick family visit, and that she offered to bring anything I needed back with her in her new full-size truck. And my grandfather says, "well, why not have her bring whatever you couldn't fit in your and Clif's cars instead of getting a U-Haul?"

And that's when it struck me--I'm an idiot.

I mean, the U-Haul would've meant that I got all the important stuff down there in one trip, but it would've been expensive and annoying. I'd have to get a trailer hitch installed, it'd kill what little decent gas mileage I get, I wouldn't be able to drive as fast, it's tougher to negotiate turns and lane changes, I'd have to pay a hefty fee for returning it to a different U-Haul place than the one I rented it from, and it's overall just rather silly when I could have Wendy bring my dresser or whatever with her a few weeks later.

So yeah. No U-Haul. It's not necessary. It's expensive. And I'm going to allow leveler heads to prevail here.


Song of the Moment: Bob Dylan, "Going Going Gone"

"I Went Down Virginia"

Talked with my folks this afternoon (they returned last night from vacation, which they seemed to have enjoyed quite a bit). We've hammered out most of the important details of the move. Dad's going to come up a few times this week and take loads of stuff back to Shawnee for me so we don't have to do it all in the last couple of days I'm here. Mom's going to get me appointments for the dentist and the eye doctor ('cause it's been a year since I saw the former and six months since the latter) and a haircut, so I'll be all set up for heading off to Virginia in that respect.

It really just hit me this weekend--I move in less than two weeks now. I'm starting to feel scared--what if I don't have everything ready in time? What if I don't get a job? I mean, I feel pretty sure I can, especially given just how many teachers they need, but what if? It's that nagging doubt that's plagued me since I was a small child. I always doubt myself, my abilities, my chances...I'm stepping way out of my comfort zone here, and that scares the bejeezus out of me. I mean, I'm fairly sure everything will work out just great, that I'll love living in VA and working...but what if?

In other news, I woke up this morning with a sore throat and lots of nasal congestion. I think one of the four or five small children I've dealt with in the past week gave me something. Swimming last night probably didn't help any, either.

Well, off to go draw comics. I'm going to try to get ahead enough that there won't be any gaps in the comics while I'm moving and getting settled in, but I make no hard promises about that.


Song of the Moment: Bob Dylan, "Talkin' John Birch Paranoid Blues (Live)"

"Change My New Guitar Strings"

Busy busy weekend. The Friday Group had its penultimate meeting this past Friday, in which we played our next to last game (I got to turn an enemy stronghold to a giant lava pit and slay a manticore with the sword I didn't know how to use...I am now the Manticore Slayer, and I've got at least two or three notches on my belt already. My character is also apparently the son of the personification of humanity, meaning I have lots of nifty powers I don't know how to use and probably won't figure out before the last game next Friday). We also managed to finally finish Neon Genesis Evangelion. There's really only one way to describe my reaction to the series, and that is what the fuck? Sorry, but there's really no other way to put it. It's a phenomenal anime, but even watching the End of Evangelion two-part feature that replaces the rushed and sappy first ending of the series (they decided they didn't like the last two episodes of the series, so they made a movie and broke into two 45 minute episodes to be the official ending) didn't really answer anything. In fact, I think it raised more questions that it answered.

The one thing I did notice about Eva is that virtually none of the characters are sympathetic. Virtually every character in the series is selfish and self-destructive in some fashion. They're all also afraid of human contact, whether it be physical or (especially) emotional. And Shinji, who is as close to a protagonist as we can get in the series, is the worst. He wants people to love him, he wants people to understand him, but he never gives them an opportunity to do so. And at the end of the series, he hasn't actually changed at all. The only thing that really changes for him is that he realizes he is selfish and afraid of contact, and he also realizes he doesn't seem to be able to do a damn thing about it. He is incapable of effecting real, positive change in his own life. It's exceptionally depressing.

Saturday was good. Spent the afternoon seeing Batman Begins finally (which totally rocked my socks. Best Batman flick yet), then went over to my aunt and uncle's place. Actually, to their neighbor's place. He was having a little cookout and invited me over to swim and partake of food, which I happily did. My uncle also replaced my guitar strings, showing me some quick tricks for doing so myself in the process. I think I definitely need one of the nifty little stringing tools he has, because it just makes restringing the guitar so damn simple and easy.

Have to go to work at 2.00 pm. I only work one more Sunday after this one. I've been working Sunday shifts pretty much since I began working at the Writing Center, so it seems appropriate that I work them until the end. Moving is becoming very much a reality at this point, especially in the "oh crap I am nowhere near ready to go" way. I'm sure I'll get everything ready in time, I'm just not sure about other stuff...y'know, like sleeping. I also still need to visit my grandparents up in Ponca City (they and my parents returned home this evening from vacation). I would like to see my Oklahoma friends one last time before I go as well. It's gonna be tough--next Saturday is already pretty booked. I've got a party with the Writing Center folks at 7.00, then I'm going to hear my uncle play at 9.00 or so. Sundays are obviously for work, though I may try to go home next Sunday for a few hours to visit with the family (since it's my uncle's birthday as well and everyone will be in Shawnee). But there are three or four friends whom I haven't seen yet that I need to see before I go. Ugh. Moving is more of a hassle than I thought.


Song of the Moment: Van Morrison and The Band, "Caravan (Live)"

Friday, July 08, 2005

Bob Dylan And Willie Nelson - Live In Tulsa, Oklahoma

So, the concert up in Tulsa was excellent. Rana made it, we had a rather stiff dinner with her, her sister, and a friend of hers, and then we piddled for a bit before Rana, Clif, and I went to the stadium. We got our tickets without a hitch and found some decent seats. The only real problem with where we were sitting was the people behind us, a group of a half dozen kids, aged about 18 or 19, whose adult companions were buying them beer. Lots of beer. And they weren't the sort of kids who could hold their alcohol very well; by the end of Willie Nelson's set, they'd already spilled a beer on Clif and accidentally punched him the back of the head in their enthusiasm over a song. Thankfully, they wandered off sometime during Dylan's set, so we were able to appreciate most of that in peace.

Willie's sound was a little too soft, and we had trouble hearing him over the morons behind us. Dylan was cranked up, though, and we had no trouble hearing him (understanding him, now...). He also rocked real hard, which you wouldn't expect for a sixty-odd year old man. I actually knew every single song Dylan played, and it was a pretty varied set list (mostly drawing from Love and Theft, Highway 61 Revisited, and Blonde on Blonde, though), and it was a good mix of well-known tunes and exceptional album cuts. Among the highlights was a full-band rendition of "Blind Willie McTell," which ranks as one of my absolute favorite Dylan tracks. I actually kept track of the setlist, which was as follows:

1. Tombstone Blues
2. She Belongs to Me
3. Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum
4. Just Like a Woman
5. High Water
6. When you go your way and I go Mine
7. Blind Willie McTell
8. Honest With Me
9. My Back Pages
10. Cold Irons Bound
11. Visions of Johanna
12. Highway 61 Revisited
13. Don't Think Twice, It's Alright
14. All Along the Watchtower

I thought it was a pretty good setlist. Some of the songs retained just enough of their original essence to remain recognizable, and some were changed so radically ("High Water" comes to mind) that I had to catch a snatch or two of lyrics that I recognized to finally figure out what song it was.

Rana and Clif both seemed to enjoy the show. I know I did. It was good to see Rana, whom I hadn't realized just how much I missed. Makes me sad to realize she's been only a couple of hours away for the pass three years, and I've just now gotten around to seeing her a couple of weeks before I move halfway across the country.

Spent Thursday taking care of things in Shawnee. Got my car serviced and the bug shield replaced, which took much longer than it really should have (their fault, not mine). Also got a computer out at my dad's office fixed that I'd sorta accidentally caused problems with. See, I'd forgotten to replace the harddrive in the computer I'd borrowed a few months back when mine was on the blink. We got that taken care of, and I just decided to hang out at the office until they called about my car. Ended up taking care of Kathy (the tech woman's) grandkids while I was there--Michael, a 19 month old, and Andy, a 3 month old--so I was pretty tired by the time my car was ready. I ended up not making it back to Norman in time to work. Since I knew I wasn't going to make my shift, I stopped by Del City and visited Jess and Dom and their new bouncing baby boy, who is a charmig little infant with a full head of dark hair. Sat and chatted with them for awhile, then drove the rest of the way to Norman and went to Writing Club. Realized we only have one more meeting for that, so I need to finish up the corrections and changes on my story so I can have it ready for next week.

Hard to believe I leave in just over two weeks. I'm nowhere near ready. I don't know how I'm going to get everything ready in time for it. I guess I'll manage somehow.


Song of the Moment: Bob Dylan, "Blind Willie McTell (Live)"

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

"Tonight In The Heartland"

Getting ready to hit the road. Have to stop in Shawnee to pick up Clif, then it's off to Tulsa to meet with Rana and see Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson. Should be a kick ass show, and I'm sure we'll all enjoy ourselves.

Until tomorrow, true believers. Excelsior!


Song of the Moment: Bob Dylan, "Tell me that it isn't True"

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

"You Gave Me Babies"

So I woke up this morning to the telephone ringing. Seems it was Dom, calling to tell me of something momentous: Jessica had a healthy baby boy last night, July 4, at 10.20 pm.

This is exciting and somewhat strange, considering they are the first of my close friends and age peers to have a child. Hell, they now are married, own a house, and have a kid--they're like freakin' grownups. And me...well, not quite so grown up yet.

But I'm happy for them. I'm gonna meet the tyke on Thursday sometime. It'll be a neat experience. maybe I can manage to get some pictures taken.

Also got a call today from my mother. Seems she, my father, and my grandparents were in Helena, Montana, and she finally had cell phone reception (said she didn't have any at all while they were in Canada...what with all the mountains and being in a national park and all). They're enjoying themselves, it seems, and they'll be back this weekend. I'll probably have to go home and visit next week. Dad gave Clif and I permission to buy t-shirts and whatnot at the concert tomorrow night (that sounds weird. It's more like he said he'd reimburse us if we bought t-shirts. Free concert t-shirts are always a good thing). Rana has informed me (last I spoke with her, on Sunday, that is) that she'll be accompanying us come hell or high water. Since this is Oklahoma in July, either is a distinct possibility.

Called up a car dealership today as well and made arrangements to have a new bug shield put on my vehicle. They'll do that Thursday morning while I'm in Shawnee, so that's cool.

Anyway, need to go find mom's birthday present before I go to work this evening. My brothers and I know what we want to get her, it's just a matter of finding it.


Song of the Moment: Carl Perkins, "Blue Suede Shoes"

"I Think It Was The 4th Of July"

The weekend went well. Spent Saturday night doing laundry, playing guitar with Clif, and playing Mega Man games with Scott. Clif and I also wrote a song for his girlfriend which she apparently liked quite a bit. I have to admit that the melody Clif came up with for it was quite nice, and the lyrics (while not the most impressive I've ever crafted) were sweet and apparently made her feel better about a bad week.

Sunday, Clif, my grandparents, and I went to Tulsa (well, Owasso and Collinsville, really) to visit with family for the 4th. Scott, punk that he is, decided to stay home in Shawnee and visit with his friends instead of his family. It upset my grandmother, though she didn't really want to admit it. Of course, my moving to Virginia seems to upset her, too, but I think that's mostly because it's coming at exactly the same time as Clif's move to Texas for grad school (he mentioned that he won't get to come home at all next summer because of a 12 week internship he is required to do in Austin) and Mom & Dad's move to Grove (again, up near Tulsa--I'm sensing a pattern in our migration habits). But for the most part, everyone seems very happy and enthusiastic about my move, Clif especially (who agrees with me that it's high time I cut myself loose from the folks). My cousin, Bob (with whom Clif and I stayed last night), is a pilot, and told me he could get me home in a hurry if I ever needed.

So we spent Sunday driving up to Tulsa and basically hanging out with my great-aunt and uncle or with my cousin Bob and his wife and eldest child (a 14 month old bundle of energy named Tyler, who apparently took quite a shining to me). Sunday night's festivities took place at Bob's house, and food and fireworks were the order of the evening. Bob and a couple of his friends/relatives/whatever helped out with a backyard fireworks display which was actually quite good.

Bob, Clif, and I had planned to get up this morning and go out on the lake in the boat, just for the hell of it, but weather was not permitting. The storm that apparently hit sometime in the wee hours of the morning (sometime after 12.30, which was about when I fell asleep...though it was already lightning pretty good by then) got the wind up pretty high throughout the morning, such that we couldn't take the boat out (high wind + fast boat = potential damage to boat and passengers). So we slept in instead, then headed back over to the great-aunt and uncle's place for a family dinner this afternoon. We ate well, and I spent a good amount of time entertaining Bob's son, Tyler. Of particular amusement was when he got too enthusiastic about peek-a-boo and headbutted me right in the noggin. Did the child no damage (he had a huge grin on his face the whole time), but I felt it.

After dinner, we moved Clif's old Mustang (which has been sitting in the yard behind my aunt and uncle's house for almost a year now) to a different spot in the yard. There's currently no engine in the thing, but supposedly my great-uncle will have a new one for it soon. Of course, this is the guy who has a half dozen cars, all in various states of repair (or disrepair, as seems more accurate) in his yard. That's not counting the two or three they actually own which run. At one point, there was a Boss 302 with a tree growing through the hood in the yard. The car is still there, though the tree has been removed.

Mustang moved, we came back to Shawnee. I did the laundry we'd dirtied over the weekend and washed my car while Clif and I chatted. Then I came back to Norman, and I was treated to sporadic fireworks on the drive back (Norman's must have finished right before I got into town, because there were cars choking the entrance to my apartment complex (they generally fire off the fireworks near where I live, and a lot of people go sit in the intramurals field a couple of blocks away to watch). It's nice to be back, though I have to return to Shawnee Wednesday to get Clif and head back up to Tulsa, this time to meet my friend Rana and go see Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson (and I talked to her Sunday and confirmed that she'll be there. Since I'll be near where she lives, I'll make damn sure she's there no matter what, dammit!).

All in all, a good, mostly relaxing weekend. Spent a lot of time outside (and thus a lot of time sweating), though the weather was thankfully mild for this time of year. Didn't really have to do anything too strenuous, but that was exactly what I needed at this point.


Song of the Moment: Primitive Radio Gods, "Standing Outside a Broken Phone Booth with Money in my Hand"

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Car Woes

My car is giving me many headaches right now.

For starters, the anti-lock brake system light keeps coming on periodically. It never stays on for more than a couple of minutes, but I'm really not all that keen on driving halfway across the country with my ABS not working right.

Second, I discovered a rather sizeable dent on the back hatch the other day. Since nothing else was disturbed and there's no scratching or paint damage, I assume my car wasn't hit by another car. The mostly likely explanation is that it got hit by a ball of some sort (and there've been kids in the field behind the apartment playing soccer all week).

Third was what I discovered today on my way out of Vicki's apartment. I'd gone over to help her with some computer stuff, and came out to discover that the bug shield on the front end of my car is cracked in half. Broken. I am royally pissed about this, because it wasn't like that when I went into her apartment an hour or so earlier. Someone must've leaned against the hood of my car or sat something on it or sat on it themselves. Whatever the cause, it's busted now, and I'm gonna have to get it replaced (I'm not galavanting all across the country with things like these wrong. Sure, it's mostly cosmetic, but dammit, I want my car to look nice. Is that so wrong?).

Anyway, the day hasn't gone as well as I'd like. I woke up later than I'd hoped, working on Vicki's computer took longer than I thought, the bug shield thing, and I still need to shower and get packed up and drive to Shawnee. I figured I'd already been in the middle of my second load of laundry by now. Ugh.

Here's hoping the rest of the weekend goes better. Hope everyone has a great 4th of July. Try not to get too drunk, America. And Great Britain--aren't you glad you got rid of us? Celebrate this day as well!


Song of the Moment: The Beatles, "Drive My Car"

Friday, July 01, 2005

"How Blue Can You Get?"

Had a storm roll through about 6.00 this morning, waking me up a mere 30 minutes before my alarm was scheduled to go off. There's something extremely frustrating about being woken up right before the alarm is about to go off. I always feel rather cheated out of those extra minutes of sleep I lost.

Apparently high gas prices won't keep Americans from traveling. Admittedly, I'm taking a quick trip up to Tulsa for the weekend, but I'm not driving. In fact, it sounds like we're cramming my grandparents, my siblings, and myself into one car for the trip, which should be interesting.

I need to draw at least Monday's comic before I go home tomorrow, since I won't be around Monday. Probably ought to do Wednesday's as well, but I know the limits of my energy right now.


Song of the Moment: B.B. King, "The Thrill is Gone"